No Dream Deferred NOLA Announces WE WILL DREAM: New Works Festival And Play Selections

For year one, the festival has licensed several plays for world premiere productions.

By: Oct. 04, 2022
No Dream Deferred NOLA Announces WE WILL DREAM: New Works Festival And Play Selections

On Tuesday, October 4th, 2022, No Dream Deferred NOLA announced the WE WILL DREAM: New Works Festival play selections. Supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and in partnership with the Andre Cailloux Center for Performing Arts and Cultural Justice and HowlRound Theatre Commons, the new festival will run from March 19, 2023-June 19, 2023. Performances will take place, in repertory, at the newly announced Andre Cailloux Center for Performing Arts and Cultural Justice, located at 2541 Bayou Road in the historic Bayou Road Corridor.

For year one, the festival has licensed the following plays for world premiere productions:

Drapetomania: A Negro Carol by M.D. Schaffer| March 25th - April 30, 2023
Where the Suga Still Sweet by Brian Egland | April 8- May 21, 2023
Defiance of Dandelions by Philana Imade Omorotionmwan | April 28- June 17, 2023

The festival will also feature a staged reading of Sons of Liberty by Cris Eli Blak in June 2023.

Producing Artistic Director, Lauren Turner Hines, says this about the new plays selected, "These new works fill me with joy. Each play expresses the artistic and cultural values that align with the vision and mission of the festival. I am through-the-roof excited for this line-up, and thrilled to support these playwrights in such a significant way."

The WE WILL DREAM: New Works Festival will be a biennial event that locates the Bayou Road corridor of New Orleans as the "national meeting place" for Black playwrights originating/working in the American South to engage with compelling, artistic, intellectual, and cultural dialogue and community exploration. The festival's goal is to serve as a bulwark of support for the professional and artistic development of Black playwrights.

Speaking about the need for this type of support, playwright, Brian Egland says, " I wrote my first play 14 years ago. This is the 1st time a theatre company is producing a play written by me. Many, many, many amazing opportunities require a playwright to be produced by a theatre company to submit to be considered. I have never been I am."

WE WILL DREAM also presents a unique opportunity to hear from Black playwrights working/living in the American South in new ways, as playwright Cris Eli Blak states: "As a writer born, raised, and educated in the South, there are not a lot of opportunities tailored to me and my experience, and when there are portrayals, oftentimes they are by people who have never stepped foot in the places I come from. This is what is so special and beautiful about this opportunity - - it gives space to the authentic voices and stories and souls of these soils. As someone who plans on helping to usher in a new American theatre, one that is truly inclusive and diverse, not only in skin color but in the stories allowed into the room, this is a giant step towards that goal." The WE WILL DREAM: New Works Festival seeks to affirm the thought that in spite of challenges in the field and disparities in funding, Black theatre artists from the American South can thrive and create full artistic lives, right where they are. The playwright, Philana Omorotionmwan explains, "Having my play selected for production provides me with the opportunity to truly grow as a writer in a craft that is meant to be performed. Having the production occur in the state where I am from and currently live gives me hope that it's possible to create a path as a Black artist in the south."

Playwright, M.D. Schaffer, speaks to the need for spaces for Black artists to dream, "I am eternally grateful that No Dream Deferred and the WE WILL DREAM: New Works Festival is giving me the opportunity to bring my voice to the ongoing conversation of the past, present, and future of African Americans. "Drapetomania: A Negro Carol" looks at not only our history as African Americans, but examines what our future means within a system that was born from the violation of our human rights and liberties. It's within this piece, I hope to whisper amongst the roars of revered black playwrights."

Tickets for the WE WILL DREAM: New Works Festival go on sale beginning in January 2023.

For more information about the playwrights, please visit

Audition submissions are currently being accepted. To request submission information please email:

To learn more about the festival and No ,Dream Deferred, please visit: